Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt Flakes (gluten-free, grain-free, cane sugar-free)

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Over the weekend, Minneapolis received about a foot of snow in less than 24 hours. I woke up, saw the snowflakes, and immediately wanted to spend the day stuffing my face with food. This winter has been seriously brutal to my waistline. And my inner thighs. And the back of my arms. And my hips. Whatever.

Against my vanity and better judgement, I decided to make cookies. I was inspired by a recipe for gluten-free chocolate chip cookies that I saw in the most recent Penzeys Spices catalog that uses eggs and peanut butter for the cookie base, no grains at all!  I knew had to try an adapted version of that recipe.  Conveniently, my local co-op just started stocking duck eggs again and I had bought a couple cartons on Thursday, and I had all the other ingredients I would need. Cookie project, ACTIVATE!

I swapped cashew butter in for the peanut butter, omited the cane sugar, and made a number of other tweaks. For a bit of crunch and a salty twist, I added a generous spoonful of Maldon's smoked sea salt flakes.  If you're unfamiliar with Maldon's sea salt flakes, it's time you get acquainted.  Maldon's salt is some of the finest salt in the world, unrefined pure soft flakes of salt that are harvested with care from salty English waters. It has a clean flavor, is not at all bitter, and has a wonderful texture that is perfect for garnishing vegetables, salads, meats, and baked goods. If you don't want a big crystal of salt, it can easily be crushed for a smaller grain and less noticeable presence.  You can find Maldon's salt at Whole Foods, co-ops and natural foods stores, and gourmet markets all over the world.

I was amazed at how the cookies turned out - duck eggs and cashew butter make a magnificent cookie!  Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and full of flavor (and protein!). The combination of chocolate and toasted chopped cashew was to die for. I used homemade chocolate chips (an experimental recipe I'm not yet ready to share); you could use any chopped chocolate, chocolate chip, or carob chip that you tolerate. This recipe is going to become a standby from now on! Serve it up with a glass of Creamy Hemp Milk for an extra special treat. 

Maldon's Smoked Sea Salt Flakes are crunchy, wonderfully flavored, and beautiful.Just before adding the chocolate chips...Sweet and salty grain-free cookie goodness

Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt Flakes

yield about 20 cookies | adapted from the Penzeys Spices Winter 2011 catalog

I added 2 Tbsp of mesquite flour (made from the mesquite bean pod) in this recipe for a sweet, cinnamony-coffee-chocolate flavor. I like Casa de Fruta or Shiloh Farms brand mesquite flour, which are both certified gluten-free.  Find them online, or at specialty stores. If you do not have it, just omit from the recipe.  Also, if you do not have or tolerate cashew products, this recipe should work equally well with the butter of any nut or seed, as well as any other variety of chopped and toasted nuts or seeds.

  • 1 cup smooth cashew butter (raw or roasted)
  • 2 Tbsp mesquite flour (optional but recommended)
  • 2 mediumish duck eggs or 2 large chicken eggs (duck eggs are bigger than chicken eggs, so medium-sized duck eggs are generally the size of large chicken eggs)
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup, or other natural liquid sweetener like honey or brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 tsp plain stevia liquid
  • 1 tsp gluten-free pure vanilla extract (Simply Organic and Penzey's brands are gluten-free)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cashews, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (homemade or store bought)
  • 3/4 tsp Maldon sea salt flakes (regular or smoked) or other natural sea salt flakes

Preheat oven to 350º F and line baking sheets with parchment or grease well.

In a large bowl, cream together cashew butter, mesquite flour, eggs, maple syrup, stevia, vanilla, and baking soda until smooth. Add cashews, chocolate chips, and sea salt flakes, and stir until just combined. 

Spoon by the tablespoon onto a well-greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Place in pre-heated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes according to the original recipe, or longer for firmer cookies.  After 11 minutes, I thought my cookies still seemed too soft, so I baked for 13 minutes. My cookies had a very nice texture that was crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside.

Let cool a few minutes on the sheet before transfering to wire cooling rack; let cool completely before eating.  Store in a well-sealed container. 

This recipe is linked to Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free's Slightly Indulgent Tuesday on 2/22/11.


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